'Procurement not just about cost reduction but managing relationships', says new Fujitsu CPO

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
3 July 2014

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3 July 2014 | Will Green

The new CPO at Fujitsu for UK and Ireland has put relationship skills at the centre of his strategy to develop the procurement function.

Clive Rees stepped into the role in February and his focus has been on improving relationships with internal customers and suppliers.

“I came into a pretty mature function and one of the observations was, I’ve got to change how we engage internally, how we’re perceived, how we get value out of suppliers and get closer to suppliers, and how we develop all our people to have the capabilities to manage those relationships,” he said.

“What is the purpose of procurement now? It’s not just about cost reduction, it’s about the managing of relationships.”

Rees encourages his 55-strong team to “be seen” and go to stakeholders’ meetings and while “some people have embraced it”, others are “finding it a bit more challenging but we will help them get there”.

“That is the aspiration: that we end up part of their team as opposed to being seen as an overlay from the centre or a bureaucratic process that they have to navigate through to get what they want,” he said. “We have got to understand what they want because they are the people with the relationships with the end clients. They drive the profits of the business and we have to help them.”

Rees said 80 per cent of indirect spend was with around 50 suppliers but the tail was “too big” and he wants to “reduce the size and consolidate”. “But my focus in the next 12 months is going to be on the top suppliers, to make sure I’ve got an understanding of what additional value they can bring,” he said.

Along with this, he has a challenging savings target of “more than 10 per cent of our addressable spend”.

“When we’re talking about key suppliers it’s not just about price," he said. "It’s not just the cost reduction, it’s what extra value these suppliers can bring to us in the way of offering so we can make the offering to our end customer more compelling.”

Rees also has an “aspiration to have upwards of 20 per cent of our supply chain with SMEs”.

Since joining he has refined the system of category management in place at Fujitsu – organised under the categories of hardware, software, telecoms, IT, corporate services and professional services – to make it more of “an action plan”, while a reconfiguration of the worldwide business presents “the opportunity to look across regions and collaborate with other procurement colleagues and leverage global spend”.

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